45% of CEOs Believe Their Companies Won’t Be “Viable” a Decade From Now

Can artificial intelligence solve the inefficiency problem and build companies that matter?

In PwC’s 2023 Annual Global CEO Study, 40% of chief executive officers said they didn’t believe their companies would be viable 10 years down the line if they stayed on the current path. Now, in the 2024 PWC Study released last week, 45% of CEOs say they share the same belief.

That’s an eye-opening statistic – even to CEOs around the world.

“The reinvention imperative this implied caught the attention of our clients, prompting thousands of conversations between PwC partners and CEOs around the world,” PwC reported. “Are we in the 40% or the 60%?’ was a question many CEOs posed to themselves and their top teams during or following these discussions.”

The surveyed CEOs also told PwC they needed to be more “transformative” to make sure their company would “thrive” by 2034. “Small company chief executives are more likely than their larger company counterparts to feel their company’s viability threatened,” the survey of over 4,000 worldwide CEOs stated.

One common theme that kept popping up with CEOs is inefficiency, with about 40% of company leaders saying the way they’re handling “routine” tasks like decision-making and emails was “inefficient.” PwC has mapped out the financial costs of business inefficiency, tagging it as a $10 trillion “tax” on productivity.

Gen AI To the Rescue?

One way of avoiding that cost is the increased use of generative AI to improve company-wide efficiency and productivity, PwC reported. Calling Gen AI a “burden reducer”, PwC noted CEOs should take full advantage of the “AI opportunity.”

“AI has all the hallmarks of a technology that could significantly change how companies operate,” the report stated. “It’s also approaching a critical juncture, seemingly poised to transform business models, redefine work processes, and overhaul entire industries.”

Throughout 2024, approximately 50% of CEOs expect generative AI to “enhance their ability to build trust with stakeholders”, while 60% said it should “improve product or service quality.”

“Within the next three years, nearly seven in ten respondents also anticipate generative AI will increase competition, drive changes to their business models, and require new skills from their workforce,” PwC noted.

Those companies that have already done so say the effort is worth it.

“CEOs who say they have adopted generative AI across their company (about one-third of our sample) are significantly more likely than others to anticipate its transformative potential over the next 12 months, as well as over the next three years,” the report added.

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